Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Missing boy, father sighted at St. Petersburg marina

ST. PETERSBURG — A Palm Bay man suspected of abducting his young son from a supervised visit Saturday may have escaped to the water in a 32-foot sailboat, authorities said Sunday.

Police think Paul Martikainen may have taken his 3-year-old son, Luke Finch, aboard the sailboat, which was at the Salt Creek Marina at 107 16th Ave. SE in St. Petersburg, said Cocoa Police Department spokeswoman Officer Barbara Matthews.

"We found out (Martikainen) had a boat there and people saw Paul and Luke in a dinghy going out to a boat," Matthews said.

Finch was reported missing Saturday afternoon after he disappeared from a Cocoa park during a supervised visit with his father. Martikainen, 35, was able to slip away from the supervisor sometime after noon.

An Amber Alert sent out Saturday evening said Martikainen was thought to be traveling in a green 1995 Ford Explorer with tag number 142KEA. Shortly after news of the alert ran on local news broadcasts, a caller told authorities that the vehicle was at the marina, Matthews said.

St. Petersburg police found the Ford and impounded it. They learned that a friend of Martikainen bought the boat in October.

Witnesses at the marina said they saw Martikainen and the boy get into the 32-foot Bristol sailboat, Matthews said.

It was recently painted battleship gray, Matthews said, possibly to conceal the boat on the water. That means the abduction could have been planned in advance, she said.

The Coast Guard in St. Petersburg was assisting with the search on Sunday, said spokesman Petty Officer Robert Simpson.

Martikainen, Finch's non-custodial parent, was ordered to have supervised visitation because of previous allegations of abuse against the boy, Matthews said.

Matthews said the child's mother is "afraid … but very hopeful."

"Our goal is his safe return," she said.

Police seek help

Paul Martikainen is described as being 5 feet 11 inches tall, 176 pounds, with blond hair and green eyes. Luke Finch is described as being 2 feet 9 inches tall, 33 pounds, with blond hair and blue eyes. According to the Amber Alert, the child was last seen wearing a blue sweatshirt, blue pants and black and red fire engine sneakers.

Cocoa police ask anyone with information to call (321) 639-7620 or dial 911.

Missing boy, father sighted at St. Petersburg marina 11/29/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 30, 2009 11:07am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pentagon investigating troubling questions after deadly Niger ambush


    WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary James N. Mattis, troubled by a lack of information two weeks after an ambush on a special operations patrol in Niger left four U.S. soldiers dead, is demanding a timeline of what is known about the attack, as a team of investigators sent to West Africa begins its work.

  2. In the military, trusted officers became alleged assailants in sex crimes


    The Army is grappling with a resurgence of cases in which troops responsible for preventing sexual assault have been accused of rape and related crimes, undercutting the Pentagon's claims that it is making progress against sexual violence in the ranks.

  3. Trump on his Puerto Rico response: 'I'd say it was a 10'


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump gave himself a "10" on Thursday for his response to the widespread devastation Puerto Rico suffered after back-to-back hurricanes created a situation that the island's governor described as "catastrophic" as he met with Trump at the White House.

    Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello speaks with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Thursday.
  4. Editorial: Rubio, Bilirakis owe Floridians answers on drug law


    Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Palm Harbor have some explaining to do. They were co-sponsors of legislation making it harder for the Drug Enforcement Administration to go after drug companies that distribute prescription pills to unscrupulous doctors and pharmacists, contributing to the deadly opioid crisis …

    Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Palm Harbor has some explaining to do. He was a co-sponsor of legislation making it harder for the Drug Enforcement Administration to go after drug companies that distribute prescription pills to unscrupulous doctors and pharmacists.
  5. Former Hillsborough school official files lawsuit alleging high-level corruption


    TAMPA — The fired human resources chief of the Hillsborough County School District is accusing district leaders and two School Board members of committing corrupt acts and then punishing her when she would not go along.

    Stephanie Woodford rose through the ranks of the Hillsborough County School District, then was fired as Chief of Human Resources on April 28. She's now suing the district, alleging numerous acts of corruption. [EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times]